Restoring intimacy in your relationship

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maybe the title of this column caught your eye in the wake of Valentine’s Day, either because the big day wasn’t all you thought it might be or because it was all that and more, and you want to make sure those good feelings linger.
No matter the reason, read on for some ideas on how to up the flame in your relationship and keep it going all year round. But don’t stop with Valentine’s Day. You can put these ideas into practice all year round. If singer James Taylor had his way, you would “Shower the people you love with love. Show them the way you feel.”
But how? If you are reading this article to get a blueprint on how to rebuild your weather-beaten chapel of love, you may be disappointed. Since intimacy means different things to different people, restoring it is not a generic enterprise. It is a highly personalized and on-going process. There are principles, however, that apply across the board. One of the most valuable of these focuses on open-hearted communication.
Ask yourself this: Was there a time when it felt important, even vital, for the two of you to engage in face-to-face uninterrupted conversation at close range? Didn’t both of you feel like the luckiest and most valued people in the world? There were no disjointed conversations while one of you was watching TV and reading the paper and the other was simultaneously cooking dinner and visiting Farmville.
Think back to the time when it felt so natural, safe and intimate to really connect with each other. If you did that before, you can do it again. And if you are the new couple on the block, why not start off on the right foot from the beginning?
So, when your significant other talks, look into his or her eyes and really listen. If you listen respectfully and ask appropriate questions, your partner is more likely to open up. And don’t hesitate to ask that extra follow-up question if you need clarification. In the long run it will be much easier than trying to guess what they want and need from you.
Your partner will feel listened to and valued. And you will both feel more connected and intimate because you have shared a confidence. There is no scientific evidence, but many people will attest to the fact that feeling valued and cherished by your partner is a strong aphrodisiac. Remember the sparks during your courting days when you couldn’t get close enough and hung on each other’s every word?
Whether you are listening to your partner express his or her needs, or you are the one talking about what you want, it is vitally important to stay on track and put aside sarcasm, criticism and bullying. Do not use statements beginning with “You always” or “You never.” If it reaches that point, call a time out by mutual consent and regroup emotionally. You can always reconnect after you have calmed down, or you could put your thoughts in writing, following the same rules outlined above.
Bear in mind that heated discussions or arguments do not spell the end of a relationship, as long as both of you play fair. You may be surprised to know there is scientific evidence to support the theory that couples who “fight fair” have better communication and therefore more intimacy. At least you are showing each other that you care enough to try and work things out. Let’s not forget that old chestnut about how great it feels for a couple to reconnect after a quarrel. Isn’t that incentive enough?
This article was submitted by Rick McCallister, Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, Polk Wellness Center. For more information about Polk Wellness Center, visit or call 828-894-2222.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox